This blog is supposed to be dedicated to creating a healthy mind, body, and spirit, but in light of the recent shootings in Aurora, Colorado, Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and last year’s shooting of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, I feel compelled to speak about hate. It is responsible for the slaughter of an untold number of innocent people around the world, past and present. With the recent shootings some would argue that the individuals responsible were crazy, but even in their mental illness, I believe hate was the catalyst that supplied the fuel. Self-hatred may have propelled those individuals to commit such heinous crimes or was it something else? Shakespeare said, “In time, we hate the things we fear.” And I’ve heard it said that we hate those who are not like us, and it is an innate part of us, that we have all acted upon at some point in our lives. I don’t agree with that. I believe we do have the capacity to hate, but we also have the same capacity to choose not to. We have free will and the power to choose how we react to a particular person or situation. Isn’t that why humans are considered above animals because of our intellect? Don’t we know that in spite of our race, we all bleed red blood?
Hate is insidious because it doesn’t always show itself on the outside, but instead grows from within and is often revealed by a person’s actions. Hate is also a learned behavior. Have you ever seen two toddlers of different races in a store or playground? They stand and look at each other with such curiosity, and just when they finally make up in their little minds to communicate or reach out to each other, some stupid adult comes along and snatches them away, teaching them that they shouldn’t like that child, because they are different.
Hate has caused the death of so many innocent people. There is a laundry list of tragedies including slavery, lynchings, and other indignities suffered by African-Americans, particularly in the South, the gassing of millions of Jews, Poles, Gypsies, and others during the Holocaust, the genocides that occurred in Bosnia, Rwanda, and Darfur, and in more recent times, 911, school shootings such as Columbine High, Virginia Tech, and Northern Illinois, and the shooting massacre in Norway last year.
Hate kills dreams. Hate eats you up inside like cancer; it will chew you up and spit you out. Don’t be fooled, you think you can control it, but it! always winds up controlling you. It changes you, and not for the better! Hate turns beauty into ugliness, and gives you wrinkles! Hate stops you from moving forward because it keeps you firmly cemented in the past. You cannot make rational decisions and see things clearly, when you are blinded by hatred. It keeps you ignorant.
With the upcoming presidential election in November, Americans have the opportunity to vote based on the issues or vote based on hatred. Are you going to vote based on a man’s race or what he stands for? Are you going to factor in his accomplishments and willingness to create and pass legislation that will benefit all and not just a chosen few? Or are you just going to make it based on the rhetoric of certain media, groups, and political parties who don’t have a plan, but instead incite hatred through the media and carefully crafted speeches , but yet provide no solutions to the issues our country is facing. Support who you want, but let it be for a valid reason, not based on emotions or hate.
Okay, okay, I’m stepping down from my soapbox, but let me leave you with this, Confucius said, “ It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get.” We are better than what we have witnessed in recent times. When 911 occurred, the country pulled together and we can do it again, and show the world what we really stand for. If you must hate, then hate ignorance, prejudice, inequality, war, poverty, suffering, sexism, and all things that bring out the worst in us.